Anand Virmani, CEO, Nao Spirits & Beverages
What’s the one thing you’d like to change about the Indian market?
Make it a single-policy, transparent system. One excise policy; one point of control. There should be clear guidelines for brands, bars, retailers, wholesalers, etc. available for all to see.
Who do you think sets drinking trends in India?
Hard to define any group of people that sets trends – if you could do it, all the brands would go running after them! A lot of our trends come from consumption cues from outside India via outbound travel and social media. A decade ago gin was definitely not cool – yet, somehow here we are!
Something has changed in the middle, and that change has been a result of a collection of forces, including travel, social media and the evolution of bars, among many others.
What is the most overrated drinking fad/ drink in India at the moment?
Ooooh, so much to choose from! Whisky sours – or any other sours basically. I just cannot understand the need to put an egg into a drink. Yes, it creates a lovely texture, but it also leaves a very unpleasant aftertaste.
What’s the next big thing for India?
Can I say gin? I think on the whole, better drinks are what we can look forward to in India. Hopefully a lot more people focusing on the craft of producing, and of serving.
What’s the best motivation for your team?
Everyone has different things that motivate them, but they all enjoy added responsibility – to be able to call something their own and to then make it the very best! Travel is the other thing which they all love to do!
Which is your favourite liquor brand ad campaign?
I really enjoyed the ‘Wimbledon is now the official tennis of Sipsmith Gin’ campaign. A close second is absolutely everything Ryan Reynolds does for Aviation Gin.
Which is your favourite bar in India and why?
Bob’s Bar in Indiranagar (Bengaluru). It should really be everyone’s favourite bar. They don’t mess about. The most complicated cocktail you will get is a Gin&Tonic. The food is simple and delicious. There is no music, because you don’t need music – the people around you are all the music you need. What a great vibe!
Which of your competitors gives you sleepless nights?
I don’t need them to give me sleepless nights – we do this ourselves! Have you tried No-Sleep Gin? It was our coffee-infused limited edition gin for Greater Than that we launched in 2021.
What’s the one fictional character you’d like to have a drink with?
If you were alone on a desert island, which drink would you want with you?
Water – neat. And beer… but only if this deserted island has a working refrigerator!